The Global Healthcare Innovation Alliance Accelerator (GHIAA)

Policy to Impact

The Global Healthcare Innovation Alliance Accelerator (GHIAA)

Policy to Impact


Our Vision

A world in which medical innovations are promptly available to all populations in need.

Our Mission

We provide tools and resources to support the formation of partnerships that will facilitate access to critical medical products.

What We Do

We work to achieve our mission by creating and publishing new materials, curating useful information, collaborating with stakeholders and providing consulting support related to global health policies and agreements.

Core Capabilities & Resources

  • Our MAPGuide Platform is an open access tool that enables users to explore analysis of equitable access policies and agreement provisions, providing insight into different approaches for addressing critical issues.
  • We have extensive subject matter expertise in the field of global health agreements, enabling us to provide in-depth advice around complex challenges.
  • We have a deep understanding of the realities of agreement negotiations that can be applied to provide pragmatic assessments of options for the formation of impactful partnerships.
  • Our multifaceted board is able to offer balanced views of implementing equitable access objectives from academic, industry, government, non-profit, philanthropic and public policy perspectives.
  • Our diverse global network can be leveraged to facilitate connections and dialogue across the global health community.

GHIAA's Story

Our work focuses on highlighting the role of agreement provisions in determining access to critical and innovative medical products. From the outset, our team has viewed global health agreements as complex puzzles. Each agreement needs the right pieces (or provisions) to fit together to create a coherent single picture. We aim to provide resources that help stakeholders to solve those puzzles as quickly as possible, and in a way that supports and helps to expand equitable access to medical products.

Here’s GHIAA’s creation story – the major milestones on our journey so far, and our plans for the future.

We began as the Global Healthcare Innovation Alliances (GHIA) research project housed at the Innovation & Technology Policy Lab, a Bass Connections-funded project at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. This research project was initiated by GHIAA’s current Executive Director, Julia Barnes-Weise, who was at that time a Visiting Associate Professor of the Practice at the Sanford School.

The founding team started with the aim of researching and better understanding the alliances formed between for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, and the public sector to accelerate the development of Ebola vaccines in response to the 2014 outbreak in West Africa. Several Duke University students joined the project to research and map partnerships that were forming in real-time. The GHIA team conducted interviews with key stakeholders to assess the unifying factors bringing organizations together–and the challenges that they faced.

This assessment of key challenges identified that progress with alliance formation was hindered by lack of both policy tools and legal clarity regarding alliance structures. Another challenge was identifying and ensuring a mutual understanding of approaches to such key issues as intellectual property management, technology transfer, and data sharing. In response to this challenge, the GHIA team analyzed a range of global health agreements from diverse organizations to identify how they addressed the key issues that had been highlighted as roadblocks to the rapid formation of alliances for Ebola vaccine development. This analysis was recorded in a document that we called the Master Alliance Provisions Guide (MAPGuide).

In early 2017, GHIA was converted into the non-profit organization GHIAA, the Global Health Innovation Alliance Accelerator. GHIAA was launched to facilitate the transition of the initial academic research project into an open access, online resource that could be used in practice by negotiating teams and global health policy makers. We added ‘Accelerator’ to the organization name to reflect the growing emphasis on the need for speed in agreement negotiations during a health emergency.

In the fall of 2017, we received our first grant from the Wellcome Trust to transform the MAPGuide document into an online tool. This resulted in the official launch of our MAPGuide provision database in August 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic started just as we were considering how to build on our provision database and expand the MAPGuide platform. As agreement negotiations for the development, manufacturing, and purchase of COVID-19 countermeasures unfolded, we talked with a variety of stakeholders about how the resources on the MAPGuide platform could support and accelerate discussions around critical issues. One topic that came up over and over again in our conversations–and in the broader global health community–was that of ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and other medical countermeasures. We quickly saw the need for more transparency and sharing of “best practice” approaches for contract provisions that could increase the chances of achieving equitable access to countermeasures during the continuing global pandemic and beyond. In particular, we saw a need for resources to support product development funders in the translation of their equitable access policies into agreement provisions that would result in measurable impact. This led us to create the Equitable Access Toolkit, which was launched in December 2022 as our first major content addition to the MAPGuide platform.
We will continue to promote the importance of agreement provisions as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic and looks for ways to ensure that equitable access failures are not repeated. Our advocacy work on provisions for pandemic preparedness and response (PPR) will include commentaries on new drafts of the Pandemic Treaty. Beyond PPR, we are seeking funding to expand our Equitable Access Toolkit to include licensing agreements as well as product development funding agreements. We believe that this will be a valuable resource for academic institutions and product developers seeking to grant licenses to their medical technologies. Our ongoing work includes engagement with global health events and participation in panel discussions, providing equitable access-related consulting support, and expansion of the MAPGuide provision database.

Like any non-profit organization, GHIAA relies on external support to continue its mission. Please contact us if you are interested in supporting our work through donations, grant funding, in-kind contributions, or providing agreements to contribute to the expansion of our provision database. We would also be happy to receive your questions, suggestions and ideas for the GHIAA team.